Toby Ng

It’s not what I have done, but what I will do next…

A Story of Success

"Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become." - Jim Rohn

I'm not even sure what my beginning are with my badminton goals, but I grew up with the dream of winning a National title. That was my goal when I was a junior, a mere 15 years of age. All my focus and efforts went to getting that title, and I thought everything would change when I got it. I was pursuing success, through a National title.

(All I wanted to do, about 15 years ago, was to win one of these...)

Success didn't really come, at least to my standards. I came close in my final junior year, with an incredible opportunity to win the U-19 Nationals, but I ended up losing in a huge upset in the semi-final. I had won 2 or 3 circuit tournaments that year, but I still lost in the end. I vowed not to play badminton anymore. 

After a brief hiatus, Badminton Canada created a U-23 Nationals, and my opportunity to win that National title was renewed. The first year looked promising, but I ended up placing 2nd in both Doubles and Mixed Doubles. I was disappointed, but I had another 2 years left. The following year, I made another two finals, and I ended up getting 2nd in both Doubles and Mixed Doubles again. It was as if the National title was alluding me. However, the week after Nationals, I was invited to compete in the 2007 Pan Am Championships as the 2nd Men's Doubles team for Canada. I had no real expectations, but we ended up making it to the semi-final. And that's where it really began... I couldn't be the best in Canada, but I was top 4 in Pan America? Perhaps I needed a change in perspective...

(My badminton career took off after this tournament.)

I still wanted to win a National title, but that was now less of a focus. If I could get to the semi-finals of the Pan Am Championships, maybe I could someday be good enough to challenge the world. Instead of trying to do something successful, I had to train and compete in an attempt to attract success to myself. Still, the National title alluded me with an attempt at the 2008 Senior Nationals, but my goals had changed. I gave up my final shot at a U-23 National title for a chance to compete with Canada at the 2008 Thomas Cup Finals in Indonesia. It was the first time Canada had made the finals since the 1980s, and we haven't made it back again since then...

I still wanted to win that title, but incredibly, I ended up doing well and won the 2008 Pan American Championships later that year. I had become the Pan American Champion before ever becoming a National Champion. In continuing my efforts to become a better player, success came by itself. Finally, in 2009, I finally won my first ever Canadian National title. It took about 8 years to accomplish, although I came incredibly close a few times. My goal came when I stopped trying to DO the successful event, but rather focusing on BEING a successful badminton player. What I had to DO was to win, which was very outcome based. In contrast, what I had to BECOME was a world-class badminton player, which was very process based.

Attracting success earned me many International titles along the way, as my focus of being a better player involves improving on your results, instead of winning one tournament a year. The results rolled in over time, including winning a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games. With the 2015 Pan Am Games coming up this summer, I hope I can continue attracting success. There will be plenty of distractions along the way, but I'll be ready.  It's easy to settle after a big win, but those who continue to work on themselves will never settle...

The National titles continued, but not consistently. However, that is okay, because each defeat made me stronger the next time around. I often lose more than I win, but I always win if I learn from my losses. In the end, you learn to never settle. If you worry about that one title, you may never get it. If you work toward being better than that one title, if you work toward being a better player, success will come. At least it did for me...

Badminton can simply be a metaphor for other things. I don't let the success (or failures) in what I do dictate who I am, but rather I work on being successful and attract success in the things I do. 

And if I can do it, I know you can too.

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